Time for real action to address cost of living


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/07/2022 (316 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The last few months have been a difficult time for families and individuals in our community, as inflation continues to make the cost of almost everything more expensive. On July 20, inflation rose to 8.1 per cent, a 39-year high.

What does this mean for people? It means higher grocery bills (8.8 per cent increase in food prices) and much more expensive to fill up a tank of gas (54.6 per cent higher prices at the pumps). It means more households in Winnipeg Centre struggling to make ends meet, and more people being forced to use food banks.

At the same time, workers’ wages are not keeping pace with inflation, even as big corporations rake in record profits. Loblaws, Canada’s largest grocery chain, saw its profits soar by 40 per cent in the first quarter of this year, way beyond the rate of inflation.

Workers, seniors, and individuals on social assistance did not cause this inflation crisis, and they should not be the ones to pay for it. By taxing the windfall profits of big grocery chains, fossil fuel companies, banks and insurance companies who are recording record profits, we can give people the help they need to get through this difficult time.

The current measures announced by the federal government, including an indexation of the GST tax credit (which will mean an extra $7 this year for most families), are woefully inadequate. As a start, the government should double the GST tax credit and increase the Canada Child Benefit to give families up to $1,000. I will continue to hold this government accountable so that people in our community get the support they need.

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We have a toxic drug supply crisis that has become even worse during COVID. In 2021, there were 407 deaths in Manitoba due to drug poisoning.

The evidence is clear: harm reduction, not criminalization, saves lives. That’s why I’m delighted that after months of advocacy, Sunshine House received $384,000 in federal funding to establish a mobile overdose prevention site (MOPS). Operating out of a mobile home, MOPS staff will be trained to administer naloxone, a treatment that can reverse opioid overdoses, and provide referrals to emergency, health, and social services. The site will operate five to six nights a week providing outreach to people who use drugs in the West End, Central, North End and Point Douglas areas starting in August.

Sunshine House is still looking to raise $105,000 to purchase life-saving drug checking equipment for the MOPS. If you’re able to contribute, you can visit their website at sunshinehousewpg.org to donate.

Leah Gazan

Leah Gazan
Winnipeg Centre constituency report

Leah Gazan is the NDP Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre.

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